Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

I was listening to the “Under the Radar” podcast the other day. The podcast is by independent iOS developers, “Underscore” David Smith and Marco Arment, who discuss topics and issues related to being solo, indy, software developers. They both work from home.

In this episode, they talk about how to maintain a good work/life balance. David Smith quotes an old saying, “good fences make good neighbors”. He was talking about the temporal fence he sets at five o’clock in his daily work schedule. As soon as 5pm rolls around, he stops working. This helps him stay focused on work during work hours. It then lets him focus on his family outside of work hours. It’s a great metaphor.

I do the same thing, but on a weekly timeframe. It’s what I’m talking about when I discuss home management and what I do to keep things organized. My wife works non-traditional hours, so I schedule my prime working hours to match hers. Friends and other family work “normal” weekday, nine-to-five hours. This makes it difficult sometimes, but putting up the “fences” helps, even if it varies weekly, and even daily.

I love listening to podcasts by folks like Underscore and Marco. Hearing other people talk about problems similar to the ones you face yourself is really helpful.